Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator: The Professional Difference

You are ready to change up your space, but aren’t exactly sure where to start. You start researching for the services that you will require, and you stumble upon Interior Designer’s and Interior Decorators, and you begin think “What is the difference?”. Many people believe that Interior Designer’s and Interior Decorator’s are the same thing, however even though their title’s are interchangeable, there is quite a difference between the two. The end goal of both a Designer and Decorator is to create a space that reflects the needs of its users while bringing forth creativity and innovation.


Interior Designer’s 

Interior Design is a profession that requires specific form education and training. A person interested in becoming an Interior Designer must complete a Bachelor’s Degree/Master’s Degree and complete over 3500 work hours (the equivalent of two years work experience) and pass the NCIDQ exam, after all experience is obtained. Those who have done a diploma from a three year program can also work toward becoming an Interior Designer, however they must collect furthered work experience. Once members pass the NCIQD exam, they become registered Interior Designer’s. 

Interior Designer’s have completed intensive education in color theory, computer software, furniture design, structural design, architecture, drafting and other design/media based programs. Designers’ are capable of starting projects from the ground up through preliminary work in construction plans, building code, space plans, lighting plans, electrical/plumbing/ HVAC, and other drafted plans. They can either start from scratch, re-design through renovations, or simply update a space. Ultimately, Interior Designers provide and conduct in- depth analysis of how a space is currently being used, and to assess not just aesthetic features, but also functionality changes that must be made to ensure the better function of the space. 

Main areas of expertise:

Life safety 

Building Code 

Health & Well Being 

Accessibility 

Research & Analysis

 Programming & Space Planning 

Sustainability 

Lighting 

Design

Function 

Construction 

Architectural Technical Drawings Project Management 

Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment 

Acoustics 

Ergonomics 

Style 

Color 

Finishes 

Furnishings 

Accessories 

When to choose an Interior Designer? 

When you need guidance beyond aesthetics. When building a new home or renovating and you need further help then just selecting finishing touches. 


Interior Decorator’s 

Interior Decorators typically solely focus on decorative details. Due to this, there is less requirements for standardized education. Most Interior Decorators undergo a one to two year diploma or certificate program, while some others are self-taught. Truly, there is no formal education required to be an Interior Decorator. Interior Decorators are all about the aesthetic features. They can handle tasks like selecting color, purchasing new items, arranging layouts and updating décor.

Main Areas of Expertise:

Space Plans 

Style 

Color

Finishes 

Furnishings

Accessories 

Textiles 

When to choose an Interior Decorator? 

When you need someone another set of experienced eyes to help makeover your space, or enhance your own ideas and bring them to life. 


Things to keep in mind: 

Every Interior Designer and Interior Decorator are different. Some have a specific niche, while some dabble in all styles. If you have a specific look that you are hoping to achieve in your space, do some research on your local Designers or Decorators and find the one that lines up with the type of style you would like to achieve.



Disclaimer: The cover photo was taken from google. It is not a photo from Core.

Make your dream a reality

Get in touch to find out how we can help you build your dream home.

Get an Estimate